Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Short Political Commentary

After watching the two republican primary debates as well as the democratic primary debate ...

Of all of the Republican candidates, the only two I like are John McCain and Ron Paul. I really wish Hagel would join the race.

Rudy's recent shtick is that the Democrates are returning to a pre-911 mentality. ... Civil liberties do not seem to take a very place on his list of priorities

I really, really like Obama. I think he would be great for this country in so many ways. The one thing I struggle over most, though, is the issue of abortion. I am so conflicted about this issue, and I don't have any good ideas about a stance I'd like to see.

The absolute worst of the bunch fortunately don't have a chance anyway ....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

BBC and Scientology

If you missed the BBC documentary, "Scientology and Me," you can find it here. If there hadn't been a ruckus about it, then I never would have known about its existence. But when certain Scientology members - ever willing to intimidate, sue, or slander anyone who criticizes their organization - have now targeted the BBC itself, well... I had to find out what all of the fuss was about.

Listen to what John Sweeney, the BBC reporter in charge of this documentary had to say about his attempts to investigate Scientology:

"I have been shouted at, spied on, had my hotel invaded at midnight, denounced as a 'bigot' by star Scientologists, brain-washed - that is how it felt to me - in a mock-up of a Nazi-style torture chamber and chased round the streets of Los Angeles by sinister strangers"

Now the Scientology has come out with their own video coverage on John Sweeney and the BBC. It can be found here. What is great about this video is that it shows you precisely how you will viewed and treated by Scientologists if you don't paint Scientology in glowing terms. I'm sure this will work for head-baked scientologists, but man, all I see is the tactics John Sweeney pointed out in his documentary writ large in bold letters - you will be slandered and your motivations impugned if you dare to question certain Scientology beliefs and practices.

Monday, May 14, 2007

10 Up-and-Coming Open Source Projects I'm Very Excited About

I regularly hunt for new and better open source software to meet my various computer needs. Often I come across a really exciting project that is in the works, but that's still in the early stages of development. Sometimes a project looks so promising that I find myself continuously checking back with it to see if there is any recent news or updates. Below I'll listed the top 10 open source projects I'm most excited about (listed alphabetically). Let me know if there are any other open source projects still in the early stages of development that look very promising!

Beryl - This might mainly be a bunch of eye candy, but its great eye candy. If you haven't seen some of the great video clips on YouTube, you're in for a treat. [*nix]

Chandler - I've been looking for a decent open source cross-platform Personal Information Manager for a while, but I've yet to find one I'm pleased with. This one looks like its got some great potential for all your organizational needs. [cross-platform]

Filezilla 3 - No longer limited to Windows, we now will be able to experience the best FTP client in Linux as well. [cross-platform]

KDE 4 - Although I'm generally a Gnome user, I've got nothing against KDE (except their naming conventions) and often it seems that KDE apps have a richer feature set than their gnome counterparts. Well, with KDE 4 I might make the switch entirely. With this release, it will also be possible to port KDE to Windows (which will only make migration to Linux all the more easy). [cross-platform]

Perl 6 - OK, admittedly its been a loooong time in coming, but I doubt I'll be displeased when it gets here (which may even be this year, who knows?). Its about time for my favorite programming language to generate some buzz again. [cross-platform]

Rapid Serial Visual Projection - This isn't an application, per se, but I've found it to be a much better way to read things off of the computer screen. In fact I got so excited about this sort of software that I wrote my own RSVP application - WordFlashReader. That said, probably the best open source implementation of this type of application presently is Dictator. One of these days I'm going to re-write my app in wxWidgets. Anyway, check out one or both of these programs and see if they don't change your computer reading habits. [cross-platform]

Songbird - Its motto is: "Play music. Play the Web." It does both quite effectively. Look out iTunes, here is your next great up-and-coming competitor. [cross-platform]

UltraVNC - Wanna' access your home/office computer remotely? Or did you forget an important at home or the office? Try this program and you will no longer have to be located where your computer is to access its programs or content. [Windows]

- Why be limited by the OS you are presently using? Wouldn't it be nice to start up an OS like you would any other desktop application? Well, you can! I'm definitely going to keep my eyes on this one. [cross-platform]

XULRunner - Create and deploy powerful XUL-based apps. There are already a number of promising applications in the works based on this technology (Democracy Player, Joost, Songbird, etc.). Rumors are that this should be production ready with the release of Firefox 3. Who knows, this might be the future for cross-platform application development! [cross-platform]